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Small French park becomes home for desperate Syrian families

They ended up there penniless after wandering from country to country for months. Yahya, Aziz and 150 other Syrians swapped the brutality and death of a war zone for hand-to-mouth survival in a small park in a working-class suburb of Paris, squeezed in behind a hotel just a few metres away from a busy ring road. Some come from Homs, others from Aleppo or the Syrian port city of Latakia, leaving behind the violence of a three-year conflict that has now claimed more than 150,000 lives and forced around half the population to flee their homes.

Turkey has taken in close to 1 mn Syrian refugees, P.M. says

Ankara, Apr 22 (EFE).- Turkey has taken in "nearly 1 million" Syrian refugees and plans to maintain its open door policy for people displaced by the civil war in Syria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told lawmakers on Tuesday. "Are we going to close the doors to the Syrians and let them die? Are we going to turn our backs on our brothers and sisters?" Erdogan asked during an appearance before Parliament to defend the government's refugee policy. Erdogan, however, did not provide exact figures on the number of Syrians living at refugee camps in Turkey.

'Almost one million' Syrian refugees in Turkey

The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has reached "almost one million," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, while pledging to keep accepting those fleeing the war. "Are we supposed to ask our brothers not to come, and to die in Syria?" Erdogan said as he addressed his party's lawmakers in parliament. The three-year conflict in Syria has sent millions fleeing to neighbouring countries and beyond.

Indonesia speaks out on boatpeople amid Australia tension

Jakarta called on governments Monday to stop "shifting responsibility" for asylum-seekers, in veiled criticism of Australia's hardline policy of towing boatloads of would-be refugees back to Indonesia. The military-led operation has caused anger in Indonesia, which has been forced to take back seven boatloads of asylum-seekers turned around by the Australian navy since December.

Traumatized refugees lose most of their federal mental health funding in B.C.

VANCOUVER - Months after his mother was murdered by gang gunfire, Mauricio Osorto recognized he would be next if he didn't escape Honduras. He abandoned his life as a university teacher and lawyer who shared his mother’s law practice to go to Canada where he had to start again. A Vancouver refugee-assistance program helped him get through the grief and trauma of what he left behind and allowed him to build a new life in Canada.

Miserable Syrians in Jordan say they'd rather go home

Syrian refugees in Jordan say they are so miserable that they would rather face "inevitable death" in their war-torn country than live in conditions that have sparked riots. With Syria's war now in its fourth year, many of the 100,000 refugees in the sprawling desert Zaatari camp in northern Jordan feel the world has forgotten their struggle to survive. "Syrian refugees would rather go home and face inevitable death than swallow the bitterness of displacement," Abu Isam, 52, told AFP before his cousins and other refugees boarded a bus back to Syria.

Supreme Court to hear three people-smuggling cases, including Sun Sea appeals

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will hear three appeals in cases where people were denied refugee status because they were allegedly involved in people smuggling. Two of the cases involve an individual and a couple who were aboard the MV Sun Sea, which carried 492 Sri Lankan nationals to Canada in 2010. The arrival of two ships off the British Columbia coast led the Harper government to enact its so-called human smuggling law to discourage a repeat of the dramatic incidents.

Asylum-seeker registrations in Indonesia fall sharply

The number of asylum-seekers registering in Indonesia has fallen from around 100 a day to 100 a week in recent months, the UN said Thursday, as Australia implemented hardline policies aimed at deterring boatpeople. "There is a sharp decrease in the number of people seeking registration with the UNHCR (the United Nations refugee agency)," said Manuel Jordao, the agency's country representative in Indonesia.

Syria refugees face growing challenges in Jordan urban areas

Syrian refugees in urban areas of Jordan are struggling to cope with inadequate housing, high debts, rising costs and educational challenges for their children, a global relief agency said Wednesday. CARE International said a household assessment of more than 2,200 Syrian refugees showed 90 percent of them were living in debt to relatives, landlords, shopkeepers and neighbours. The cost of rent for the refugees from the devastating three-year war in Syria had increased by almost a third in the past year, according to the CARE study.

UNHCR faults Cyprus on refugee protection

The UN refugee agency on Wednesday accused EU member Cyprus of failing to provide effective protection for displaced foreigners seeking sanctuary on the island. A new law on refugees, published Tuesday, "curtailed essential rights of forcibly displaced people who have sought sanctuary," said the local office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "We are disappointed that Cyprus has lowered down its standards when it comes to the protection of persons fleeing war and generalised violence," said Damtew Dessalegne, the UNHCR representative in Cyprus.
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